The legal process for dividing property during a divorce is different in every state. Virginia, like much of the rest of the country, utilizes an equitable distribution rule. Therefore, those preparing for a Virginia divorce will need to seek solutions that are fair to both spouses in accordance with the state’s equitable distribution statute.
What is fair or equitable can be drastically different from case to case. Both spouses will probably have different priorities that can put them at odds with each other. People may feel very strongly about securing certain terms during the property division process. The more people know about equitable distribution, the easier it may become to approach negotiations in a reasonable manner or better prepare a case for family court.
What assets must couples generally divide?
The first step in preparing for property division in Virginia requires that people identify their marital property. Resources including vehicles, real estate, bank accounts and personal assets are all potentially subject to division. Anything that people earn or purchase during a marriage will usually be on the table for the purposes of property division.
Even assets that people cannot directly divide, like the marital home, will be subject to division. Both spouses should receive a fair share of home equity if they purchased a house together. Assets that only one spouse wants to keep, like their wardrobe or collectibles, can contribute to the value of the marital estate as well. Locating and valuing marital property will be crucial for a fair outcome in a Virginia divorce.
What factors influence fairness?
The word equitable means fair, and each spouse probably has their own idea of what would be fair given their circumstances. Judges have to consider specific factors from a Virginia divorce when deciding how to split marital property. Those factors include the financial and non-economic contributions of each spouse, the health of each spouse, how long the marriage lasted and even the separate property of each spouse.
Overall, given how many variables are in play, it is all but impossible to predict the outcome of litigated property division matters in Virginia divorce. Reaching a mutual agreement to settle the matter outside of court may ultimately give people more control and allow them to preserve certain assets during their divorce.